Thursday, June 5, 2014

What do you want to be when you grow up?

For the past several years as I've been working towards my degree, I've struggled with exactly what I want to do when I complete my PhD. Where might I work? What type of work do I hope to do? Where can I make a difference?
These questions have become excruciating over the past few months in particular, especially as I narrow in and focus on the topic of my dissertation. This is the point in my education that will define me as a researcher, an educator, a philosopher. It's a pretty important decision. While I have so many areas of interest (literacy, professional development, technology, leadership), when I narrow this down I'm afraid of what I might leave out.
But at one point, that quiet voice that whispers in the back of my mind became clearer. We all have that voice that resonates quietly within us. It's the voice that is difficult to hear amidst the din of our insane worrying, debating, fretting, and doubt. The one we often choose to ignore.
It was in this moment of clarity that I realized it's not "what" I want to be when I grow up. It's who I want to be right now. Who I want to continue to be in the future. The type of person I would see as my best self.
So, I've created my vision of who I want to be. Starting now.
1. Someone who understands and appreciates the value of people.
2. Someone who prioritizes people over "things" or accomplishments.
3. Someone who steps back to really listen and observe.
4. Someone who is able to problem solve with resiliance.
5. Someone who values the input of others.
6. Someone who is able to contribute her own input and ideas.
7. Someone who is able to speak up for those who are unable to speak up for themselves.

Sure, I still need to narrow down my dissertation topic. This will still define a part of me professionally. But there is comfort in knowing I will still choose how I will define myself every day.